Frequently Used Terms
Absolute Return Hedge Funds
Absolute return hedge fund investments include arbitrage and event oriented strategies. Arbitrage strategies attempt to exploit pricing discrepancies between closely related securities, utilizing a variety of different tactics primarily within equity, fixed income and convertible securities markets. Event driven strategies attempt to exploit pricing discrepancies that often exist during discreet events such as bankruptcies, mergers, takeovers, spin-offs and recapitalizations in equity and debt securities. Absolute return hedge funds are considered marketable alternative investments.
Alternative investments are asset categories that are characterized by complex, illiquid, and mispriced securities where proprietary information and sophisticated investment strategies offer the opportunity to earn investment returns in excess of those generally available in the traditional financial markets. These strategies are generally categorized as either non-marketable alternative investments or marketable alternative investments.
Asset allocation is the long-term strategy for investing funds into various asset classes based on investment goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. It is the primary determinant of investment return, and is defined by the investment policy for each fund.
Asset class refers to a set of related investment vehicles that have similar risk and return characteristics. Different types of asset classes would include domestic equities, international equities, fixed income, hedge funds, commodities, and private capital.
Benchmark returns are the returns for a specific index defined in the investment policy statement as the performance measurement standard for a particular asset class. The most commonly used benchmarks are market indexes such as the S&P 500 Index for common stocks and the Lehman Brothers Aggregate Index for bonds.
Book Value of an Endowment
The book value of an endowment represents all contributions, reinvested income and any realized gains or losses attributable to the sale of an investment held in the endowment.
A risk metric that distinguishes between "good" and "bad" returns by assigning risk only to those returns below a return specified by an investor. Downside risk is considered a more effective risk measure than standard deviation (volatility) for two important reasons: 1) it is investor specific, and 2) it identifies return distributions that have higher probabilities for negative ("left tail") market events. Downside risk is also referred to downside deviation or target semi-deviation.
Endowment Policy Portfolio
The endowment policy portfolio is the hypothetical portfolio consisting of each asset category weighted at the neutral asset class allocation outlined in the investment policy of each fund.
Endowment Policy Portfolio Return
The endowment policy portfolio return is the benchmark return for the endowment policy portfolio and is calculated by summing the neutrally weighted index return (percentage weight for the asset class multiplied by the benchmark return for the asset class) for the various asset classes in the endowment portfolio for the period.
Equity Hedge Funds
Equity hedge fund investments include U.S. and international long/short equity strategies. These strategies attempt to exploit profits from stock selection skills by taking long positions in securities that are expected to advance and short positions in securities where returns are expected to lag or decline. Equity hedge funds are considered marketable alternative investments.
Expected returns are best estimates of what returns might be over some future time period. Expected returns are based on projection models of different possible scenarios. Each scenario is assigned a probability of occurrence. The result of weighting each scenario by its probability of occurrence is the expected return.
Investment return is the change in investment value during the period, including both realized and unrealized capital appreciation and income, expressed as a percentage of the market value at the beginning of the period. Investment return is also known as total return.
A long position is a bet that prices will rise. For example, you have a long position when you buy a stock and benefit from prices rising. A long position is the opposite of a short position.
Market value is the value of an investment determined by prevailing prices for that investment in an actively traded market including the investment.
Marketable Alternative Investments
Marketable alternative investments are broadly defined to include non-traditional investment strategies whereby the majority of the underlying securities are traded on public exchanges or are otherwise readily marketable. These types of investments can be categorized as equity hedge funds or absolute return hedge funds.
Net Investment Return
Net investment return is total return after deduction of investment management fees and expenses.
Non-Marketable Alternative Investments
Non-marketable alternative assets consist of investments in private equity investments and venture capital investments that are not registered for sale on public exchanges. These investments are held through limited partnerships or as direct ownership interests.
Potential Value Added
Potential value added is a measure of the opportunity for returns from active management in a particular asset class. Potential value added stems from two primary sources: value added from active management decisions by internal or external portfolio managers, and value added by UTIMCO staff in selecting managers who add value, structuring favorable financial relationships with external managers, and monitoring managers selected to make additional investments or terminate managers as conditions change.
Private equity investments consist of investments in the equity securities of private businesses. Private equity investments are held either through limited partnerships or as direct ownership interests. The private equity category also includes mezzanine and opportunistic investments. Mezzanine investments consist of investments in funds that make subordinated debt or minority equity investments in private companies. Opportunistic investments are limited to illiquid assets and may include distressed debt or oil and gas partnership interests. Private equity investments are considered non-marketable alternative investments.
The primary objective of the endowment funds is to preserve the purchasing power of the endowment over the long-term. This essentially means to increase the market value of the endowments over time by at a rate at least equal to the rate of inflation after all expenses and distributions and to increase annual distributions at a rate at least equal to the rate of inflation.
Realized Gain or Loss
Realized gain or loss represents any gain or loss attributable to the sale or disposition of an investment.
A short position is a bet that prices will fall. For example, a short position in a stock will benefit from the stock price falling. Short positions are obtained by borrowing securities from another party, selling them and then repurchasing them at a later date, at a lower price, to return the shares to the original owner. The investor making the short sale pockets the difference between the price at which the shares were sold and the price at which the shares were repurchased to return to the original owner. A short position is the opposite of a long position.
Standard deviation is a measure of the variability of investment returns. It is the most commonly used measure of risk.
Total return is the change in investment value during the period, including both realized and unrealized capital appreciation and income, expressed as a percentage of the market value at the beginning of the period. Total return is also known as investment return.
Traditional investments refer to well known types of securities such as exchange traded equity and fixed income securities.
Unrealized Gain or Loss
Unrealized gain or loss represents the difference between the market value and book value of an investment.
Value added is a measure of the increase in dollar value of endowment funds due to actual investment performance exceeding the performance of the policy portfolio.
Venture capital investments consist of investments in companies, both U.S. and non-U.S., that are in the early stages of development. Venture capital investments are held either through limited partnerships or as direct ownership interests. Venture capital investments are considered non-marketable alternative investments.